Five big reasons to put employee referrals back on the radar

Fiona McSweeney | Workable features |

The benefits of employee referral programs are well-known. They’re one of the best ways of sourcing high-quality candidates at low-cost. And start-ups, in particular, thrive on them (we know, we were that start-up!) But, ironically, as companies grow and the recruiting power of their employee base grows too, referrals drop off. Asking for recommendations for new roles is no longer as simple as sharing an update with colleagues across the office. Suddenly, it needs a process. And faced with a rise in associated admin, scaling businesses often look to external recruiters instead. At a cost.

Which is why we’ve been working hard to finish our latest product release, Workable Referrals.

And, here it is!

Just launched, Workable Referrals is an advanced referrals and internal job portal, which brings the benefits of employee referral programs back on the radar. It turns your entire workforce into a recruiting machine. It also takes care of all the admin. And a beautiful thing it is too.

Why? Because it ticks five elements guaranteed to make referrals fly. Buckle up for takeoff…

See also: our guide with everything you need to know about employee referrals.

Want more referrals?

#1 Make it easy

Yes, the people you’ve already hired can lead you to more great talent—candidates who’ll stay longer and perform better. But it’s not on their radar. They’re not recruiters, after all. And they’re busy doing what they were hired for.

The answer? Make referring so easy, it would be more difficult not to.

That’s why, with Workable Referrals, all you need to do is share a link to the platform. No ATS access is required (the portal syncs up with your company’s Workable recruiting software, but isn’t accessed through it). There are no additional logins (a work email’s all that’s needed). And, there’s no separate admin to supply (everything’s tracked and recorded through the portal).

Keeping track of new jobs is straightforward too. And customizable. Employees can get updates via email; choosing between a weekly or daily digest or immediate notification. They can also opt out of emails entirely and, instead, bookmark the link and check-in whenever’s convenient.

If they’ve got someone in mind (and chances are they will)—great! All it takes is a few quick clicks. Making a referral’s as easy as sharing a resume, email address or social profile link.

They’re keen to help, but no one specific stands out? No problem. A role can be shared across any social network using a unique job referral link.

Like we said, make it easy.

#2 Demonstrate commitment

Trust plays a big part in referrals. If you’re recommending a friend or professional contact, you want to make sure their experience is a good one. Which is why an ad-hoc approach doesn’t work on a larger scale. Without a system, actions get missed and talent falls through the loop. Candidate experience also suffers, risking company rep (and your referrer’s). No surprise then that referrals dry up.

Workable Referrals dignifies the process by showing commitment, removing uncertainty and wiping out demotivating blind spots for employees. Here’s how…

  • Standard questions guarantee context, streamline process and ensure legitimacy.
  • Next steps are automatically assigned and tracked.
  • Automated updates keep employees up-to-speed on their referrals’ progress.
  • And rewards offered are formalized and visible, with a live and accurate summary of all bonuses logged against each referrer.

There’s also a suite of features designed to help HR stakeholders and hiring teams:

  • analyze candidate sources using comprehensive reporting functionality which syncs up with hiring pipelines,
  • filter internal applicants and referrals to prioritize,
  • define reward type, quantity and value,
  • upload or link to a rewards policy, and
  • track internal applicants, as well as external ones.

Referrals report

#3 Go on, gamify

Who better to sell your brand than your own employees? With Workable Referrals, it’s easy for your people to share job ads on their social networks. As well as boosting your brand, this adds a gentle touch of gamification which, for most of us (if we’re honest), is hard to resist.

Having posted the link, your employees get to track activity across their network. They can see at a glance how many views their link’s had, watch the referrals come in, control and comment on who they move forward and track progress.

And if this results in a successful hire, you can give them the option of choosing their reward at the end.

If there’s no hire, you’ve still engaged your employees in the process and connected with a bunch of high quality prospects you wouldn’t have found in any other way.

#4 Invest a little

Most agency fees come in at around 20% of a hire’s first-year salary. Swap recruiters for referrals and the savings extend to thousands (potentially tens of thousands, and rising) each year, depending on your hiring volume and average salary.

Workable Referrals is a paid-for, add-on feature. It’s an optional extra because we know that not all of our customers will need it. If you’re not hiring at pace and/or are comfortable managing your own referrals, great. There’s a full and free toolkit available as part of every Workable plan. But, if you’re looking to maximize the recruiting power of a growing employee base, why not scope it out? It could just be one of the best small investments you ever make…

#5 Look within, too

Hiring externally is 1.7x more expensive than promoting from within. So, once you’ve found someone great, you’ll want to hold onto them.

One of the big questions we faced when developing Workable Referrals was: “Why make it an internal job portal too?” The answer? Because, as well as giving employees an added incentive for logging on, it’s also a natural fit. Both are about publicizing opportunities; something that becomes more resource-intensive as businesses expand.

If you’ve got an interface rich with opportunities at your company, why limit it to external candidates? With Workable Referrals, your employees can view all open roles, make a referral OR bag an opportunity for themselves. Which, is only fair, after all.

Want to find out more?

Workable Referrals is available to buy as an annual add-on. If you’re already with us and want to find out how it could work for you, get in touch! If you’re new to Workable and interested in supercharging your referral program, we’re here if you want to chat through your options or schedule a demo.

Looking for an all-in-one recruiting solution? Workable can improve candidate sourcing, interviewing and applicant tracking for a streamlined hiring process. Sign up for our 15-day free trial today.

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Fiona McSweeney

Fiona McSweeney is a product marketing writer at Workable. She shares the latest news on product features, new releases and a little of what life is like behind the scenes at Workable.

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